Killing and Pathfinder Morality...


Rules Questions

1 to 50 of 63 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

Hi all,
I was wondering if it is an universal Pathfinder interpretation that "killing = evil" or if it is merely an interpretation that has a significant following within my own party...

To be honest I strongly disagree with this interpretation, because in my opinion a fantasy setting is still "pseudo-medieval"...and this equation "killing = evil" is totally a 20th-21st Century idea that it is not even prevalent among the existing modern population:

"Killing an innocent" is evil, sure.

But if you are a partisan and you are fighting a dictatorship, you'd probably have no problem in executing a captured guard/collaborationist...and this why?

Because he collaborates with an oppressive regime AND because he could recognize you, come back with his comrades and crush your little organization like a bug!

Does the fact that the enemy surrendered as you have prevailed
make him "innocent"?

In my opinion...no.

He was still an enemy and a supporter of the regime.

Keeping him as a prisoner is a "luxury" that could be afforded only by standing armies (and adventurers aren't such)...since they are not "freeing" the enemy, but throwing him or her into a cell or a prison camp, where other soldiers will monitor him or her and will eventually let him/her go when war ended.

Moreover this generates the fact that well...technically, based on this extremely debatable interpretation, we cannot "coup de grace" anyone: While to be honest the only alignment change forced by two "coup de grace" happened because one of my comrades started slashing the throat of two manacled Dottari as another patrol fell on us (and might have freed them)...I still wonder if that alignment change wasn't forced because of the "killing is evil" interpretation, based on which we are only able to kill people who end up killed during the heat of combat...

So I was wondering...also considering that coup de grace isn't flagged as an "evil" action in the rules...

There is any official ruling about what is evil or not in Pathfinder?

Thanks,
Skarm


Morality varies group to group. Some believe that killing people isn't actually evil because humans are a blight. Others believe killing only good creatures is evil. Or others vary even more so. It sounds more like you just need to sit down with your group and ask them what they feel is morally right and wrong and share your opinions and work with them rather than come and ask the rules of morality (which there are only a few listed examples: cannibalism, killing for pay (Assassin), and so on).


Let's say a wizard is unleashing an army of the undead into a city. It's perfectly reasonable to kill that wizard.

Let's say a dragon is eating your countrymen's livestock. Kill it.

Let's say you've got a priest that's got a bag full of donation money and you want it. Don't kill him. THAT is evil.

Carnivores and omnivores kill to eat.

Humans kill to make armor.

Killing, even in the most strictly moral and ethical sense is not inherently good or evil. The question is WHY you're killing.

A paladin, or a true follower of certain good gods, are inherently expected to kill their enemies. Arete is a LG god of War, Freya is a NG god of War and HEALING. Ilúvatiar is a CG god of War. And there's no plausible way to remove killing from warfare, short of sending in nothing but golems.

So, no. Your party is just weird.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/cleric/domains/gods-pantheons/


Do you mean "killing helpless people" or "killing when there's an alternative" or "all killing"?


I'm just going to say , that I am going to sit andwatch to see if this becomes popcorn worthy.

anyway.

killing is neither good or evil, the intent behind it differs


Also, the fact that souls and an afterlife demonstrably exist in Pathfinder-world would tend to make the concept of death differ somewhat from ours.


Pathfinder Maps Subscriber

Is there a rules question in here ?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The morality of killing is very flexible, even in the real world. The widespread notion that all killing is bad is something very, very recent and killing is often "justified" in the mind of the killer or in the minds of a given group when the victim is a member of another specific group, or is deemed to be guilty of various crimes. Sorry I can't be more specific without spelling out individual groups, beliefs, creeds or religions, which would be inappropriate on these forums.

In a medieval-fantasy setting, it is tempting to ascribe modern-day attitudes against killing to various cultures, but I tend to think that most places in Golarion would have a far more "frontier" mentality concerning killing: it's OK to kill them as long as they deserve it.

One of the underlying tenets of fantasy roleplaying games is that certain folks richly "deserve" killing. Some because of their profession, like bandits and slave-traders, some because of their race, like goblins and ogres and so many monster races it would be too fastidious to name, and some because of their unnatural practices, like necromancers and cannibals.

So any time our players get into a discussion about how justified this or that murder was, we should be sure to frame it in terms of what in-game individuals and groups think about the act, and how they categorize both the killer and the killed. The DM will express how given NPCs react, how townsfolk or troops react, and how the local judicial system (if any) reacts.

EDIT: One more thing, why on earth is this thread in the "rules" forum? Nothing in the PF rules deals with ethical questions about the morality of killing. FYI.


SlimGauge wrote:
Is there a rules question in here ?
Wheldrake wrote:
EDIT: One more thing, why on earth is this thread in the "rules" forum? Nothing in the PF rules deals with ethical questions about the morality of killing. FYI.

Well...because each time we have to decide whether or not to kill a prisoner or an enemy who surrendered, even if it is a Chaotic Evil psycho who likes to murder and kill people for fun, becomes a looong discussion in which I am always worried my DM could end up unilaterally define that my Lawful Neutral character shifted to Lawful Evil and become a NPC.

Also sometimes I have seriously the impression that my character's alignment is being "railroaded" into a Good alignment because of an apparent misunderstanding of what "Neutral" mean in the game:

So I was wondering if I have missed some more detailed rule somewhere in the manuals! :)
Skarm


Matthew Downie wrote:
Do you mean "killing helpless people" or "killing when there's an alternative" or "all killing"?

Well...I think the point is that there is a gap between "helpless" and "innocent"...if "helpless" = "innocent", coup de grace (and any execution) would become an evil action.

Skarm


2 people marked this as a favorite.

A basic premise of this whole family of games is that you're going to fight stuff, and you're going to use sharp pieces of metal and fire and all sorts of potentially lethal stuff and nobody's pulling punches- so folks are gonna get dead.

So since the game also wants to maintain a sense of "objective morality" wherein the players can feel like heroes in spite (or because?) of all of the stuff they kill, then most forms of killing (in the context of a combat, with initiative etc.) are not going to be major ethical breaches, otherwise the game doesn't function.

Potentially one could justify this via "getting killed on Golarion simply sends people off to the afterlife they earned", which nonetheless ignores the possibility of repentence, or otherwise changing course dramatically. But I would observe that if you wanted to play a game that takes these ethical questions very seriously (which is fine), then it won't really resemble a "normal" game of Pathfinder very closely.

For years the best (and perhaps, only?) solution to "is it right to slaughter the goblin children" is "do not put the goblin children in a position where they are liable to be slaughtered."

The Exchange

Yes it's evil by the allignment rules in the core book.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Bearserk wrote:
Yes it's evil by the allignment rules in the core book.

Could we get a quote for this?

If you’re going to make a claim like this, you need text to back it up. And an explanation why/how paladins exist. Not to mention how this works when there is literally a LG Empyreal Lord of executions.


Your GM was railroading you to be Good. LN is the Judge Dread alignment, not the Paladin. Execution of known violent criminals that cannot be easily handed over to a higher power is expected of them. Even the slaver’s legal claim to a slave holds more sway to him than the abolitionist emotional plea for the slave’s freedom.

Also very important thing to remember: Good is not inherently nice! Ragathiel is a LG diety that has his own branch of assassins that ruthlessly hunt down evil doers and don’t show evil the slightest hesitation to killing a evil dictator’s guards. However, truly repentant are given mercy, but they must make the first step.

Helpless is not the same as innocent. Ending a possible future threat before it can bite you in the butt is pragmatic and not inherently evil. Killing an unrepentant psycho that the only reason he didn’t murder you is you defeated him is not an evil act. In fact if they hadn’t killed him and had no resonance alternative to ensure he didn’t kill again, that would have probably been a violation for a lawful character. If there is no other convient power to execute the criminal for his crimes, it may be up to the PCs to ensure justice is carried out.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Bearserk wrote:
Yes it's evil by the allignment rules in the core book.

Quote this. Because, unless you can prove it in the rules, everything about good creatures proves you 100% wrong.


Latrans wrote:

Your GM was railroading you to be Good. LN is the Judge Dread alignment, not the Paladin. Execution of known violent criminals that cannot be easily handed over to a higher power is expected of them. Even the slaver’s legal claim to a slave holds more sway to him than the abolitionist emotional plea for the slave’s freedom.

Also very important thing to remember: Good is not inherently nice! Ragathiel is a LG diety that has his own branch of assassins that ruthlessly hunt down evil doers and don’t show evil the slightest hesitation to killing a evil dictator’s guards. However, truly repentant are given mercy, but they must make the first step.

Helpless is not the same as innocent. Ending a possible future threat before it can bite you in the butt is pragmatic and not inherently evil. Killing an unrepentant psycho that the only reason he didn’t murder you is you defeated him is not an evil act. In fact if they hadn’t killed him and had no resonance alternative to ensure he didn’t kill again, that would have probably been a violation for a lawful character. If there is no other convient power to execute the criminal for his crimes, it may be up to the PCs to ensure justice is carried out.

Exactly this.

The Exchange

Dαedαlus wrote:
Bearserk wrote:
Yes it's evil by the allignment rules in the core book.

Could we get a quote for this?

If you’re going to make a claim like this, you need text to back it up. And an explanation why/how paladins exist. Not to mention how this works when there is literally a LG Empyreal Lord of executions.

Core book page 166: Good Versus Evil.

..Good implies altruism, respect for life...
..Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others.

And no. I can't explain stuff like Paladins or LG Deity of executions cause i haven't create them and they seem total illogical to me under the core rules.

A paladin who only kills evil undead and evil outsiders can work fine for me but what about the dragons in there Smite Evil list?

But this is my personal problem.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

"Implies" is not the same as "requires" and "respect for life" and "altruism" are not mutually exclusive with "killing", they simply require you to be killing for valid reasons (self-defense, to protect the innocent, etc. I feel like it's fairly obvious that this is the natural language sense of implies (i.e. "to suggest") rather than the logical sense (i.e. "to necessarily involve") since it should be fairly clear that one can be evil without killing.

I mean, the Dwarves have a lawful good deity who's fairly keen on genocide.


murdering others

would image they used killing instead of murdering becuase killing uses less letters


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Bearserk wrote:
Dαedαlus wrote:
Bearserk wrote:
Yes it's evil by the allignment rules in the core book.

Could we get a quote for this?

If you’re going to make a claim like this, you need text to back it up. And an explanation why/how paladins exist. Not to mention how this works when there is literally a LG Empyreal Lord of executions.

Core book page 166: Good Versus Evil.

..Good implies altruism, respect for life...
..Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others.

And no. I can't explain stuff like Paladins or LG Deity of executions cause i haven't create them and they seem total illogical to me under the core rules.

A paladin who only kills evil undead and evil outsiders can work fine for me but what about the dragons in there Smite Evil list?

But this is my personal problem.

A "respect for life" doesn't inherently mean that you never kill. It means you kill only when it's necessary. "Killing others", in this case, CLEARLY means wanton killing, as versus executions. Your definition, even per the core rule book, is flawed by nature. Are wolves evil because they kill deer to eat? No, that would be idiotic. And dragons are literal killing machines. Save for the "tarnished ones", metallic dragons aren't evil.

Killing does not equate to evil. MURDER does.


Also, anything that uses the word "implies" is NOT a rule, it's freaking fluff.


I feel like having a *rule* about what's good and what's evil would be missing the point, since Pathfinder as a rule set can be used to tell lots of different kinds of stories (they've even printed multiple hardcovers about running different genres).

Long and short of it is- consider the other sorts of fiction that resemble the game you are trying to run. Consider how the heroes and villains act in those pieces of fiction. "Good" should be approximately how the heroes act and "evil" should be approximately how the villains act.

Like if you're telling a story about a zombie apocalypse, killing is going to be a lot cheaper and more prevalent (and not something necessarily irredeemable) than if we're telling a more polite sort of courtly intrigue story where the whole point is to defeat ones enemies without violence.

Scarab Sages

If you're going to try and apply moral relativity to a setting, you can justify/do whatever you want. You don't need to ask whether something is okay. Just justify it however and move on.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

It's determined by what you do with the body afterwards: looting it is required, wearing it is chaotic, hanging it from your castle walls is Lawful Evil, burying it means you're ashamed and probably you acted at least a little evil. Whether eating it is wrong depends entirely on its intelligence score and whether it is cute.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Bearserk wrote:
Dαedαlus wrote:
Bearserk wrote:
Yes it's evil by the allignment rules in the core book.

Could we get a quote for this?

If you’re going to make a claim like this, you need text to back it up. And an explanation why/how paladins exist. Not to mention how this works when there is literally a LG Empyreal Lord of executions.

Core book page 166: Good Versus Evil.

..Good implies altruism, respect for life...
..Evil implies hurting, oppressing, and killing others.

And no. I can't explain stuff like Paladins or LG Deity of executions cause i haven't create them and they seem total illogical to me under the core rules.

A paladin who only kills evil undead and evil outsiders can work fine for me but what about the dragons in there Smite Evil list?

But this is my personal problem.

Yeah.... no?

There's a big difference between 'respect for life' and 'rainbows and unicorns' (who are actually kind of also bloodthirsty in their own right). If there's a rampaging killer on the loose, I am 100% sure that nobody- nobody- would call another person who stopped them by killing them evil. Or at least not that action. A respect for life means you protect life, not never take it. Otherwise, by definition, if killing something=evil, that means that A: anybody that isn't a vegetarian is evil (or at the very best neutral) for all the life they've taken from other creatures and B: at least half the Good gods are out of a job. And likely more, at that.

Killing, by itself, or in self-defense, is a Neutral act in PF.
Executing a criminal after due process (which, in a pseudo-medieval period, could be as little as a paladin asking 'do you repent' or less) is a Lawful act.
Killing on a whim is a Chaotic act.
Killing for selfish purposes (including for fun- that is selfish) is an Evil act.
Killing for the purpose of protecting others (which includes preventing an evil entity from ever harming another) is a Good act.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I've always gone by the idea that killing is never Good. Well, aside from evil outsiders and most undead (and only most because sometimes you want to make sure the soul isn't destroyed too). The capital G Good thing to do would be find a way around killing. However, that isn't always an option.

Most of the time it is Neutral: honorable combat, self defense, defense of others, preventing certain evils, and most adventuring fights. It is regrettable, but sometimes the only tool available.

Sometimes it is flat out evil. Most of those times the person resorting to murder will use one of the above reasons as justification for their crimes. They might even be true reasons! The difference is that the Neutral killer might mean it when he says "I had to kill, it was self defense," but the Evil murderer says the same thing and yet really means, "I GOT to kill. Oh, and it was self defense."

Scarab Sages

I never understood the nicker-twisting that happens over alignment whenever it comes up. You'd think as a tangible metaphysical aspect of the setting it'd be defined, like subjective gravity is, by now.


The morality of killing is somewhat subjective. So the important thing is that the players understand the GM's views and accept the consequences of their actions. But the GM should also bear in mind that the players are entitled to their own views and that they can play characters who abhor killing if they want to.


Stone Dog wrote:

I've always gone by the idea that killing is never Good. Well, aside from evil outsiders and most undead (and only most because sometimes you want to make sure the soul isn't destroyed too). The capital G Good thing to do would be find a way around killing. However, that isn't always an option.

Most of the time it is Neutral: honorable combat, self defense, defense of others, preventing certain evils, and most adventuring fights. It is regrettable, but sometimes the only tool available.

Sometimes it is flat out evil. Most of those times the person resorting to murder will use one of the above reasons as justification for their crimes. They might even be true reasons! The difference is that the Neutral killer might mean it when he says "I had to kill, it was self defense," but the Evil murderer says the same thing and yet really means, "I GOT to kill. Oh, and it was self defense."

Good is not inherently nice! Paladin armies are infamous for razing Orcish camps in order to protect the innocent. Risking one’s own life to kill evil creatures to protect the innocent is a good act. There is more to Good than mercy. While some Good may strive to minimize deaths of even the enemy, not all Good have this restriction. Note that very few Good outsiders have merciful weapons or have try to fight nonleathal listed in their tactics. Sarenrea and a few other Good gods have mercy as a core part of their being. (Even Ragatheil can forgive if genuinely asked.) However, it’s notable that Torag sees this mercy as a weakness.

Angel Hunter D wrote:
I never understood the nicker-twisting that happens over alignment whenever it comes up. You'd think as a tangible metaphysical aspect of the setting it'd be defined, like subjective gravity is, by now.

That because simple rules don’t work well for the alignment issues. Just because two beings share an alignment doesn’t mean they think the same way. The Glorious Revolution from Hell’s Vengence is a good example of LG being overzealous and a large part of Iomedea’s Church disagreeing with this fringe group. And this can be seen in many other places. Not all paladins have to reach the same conclusion even if they worship the same god. Why do you think churches have so many internal debates.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Latrans wrote:
Stone Dog wrote:

I've always gone by the idea that killing is never Good. Well, aside from evil outsiders and most undead (and only most because sometimes you want to make sure the soul isn't destroyed too). The capital G Good thing to do would be find a way around killing. However, that isn't always an option.

Most of the time it is Neutral: honorable combat, self defense, defense of others, preventing certain evils, and most adventuring fights. It is regrettable, but sometimes the only tool available.

Sometimes it is flat out evil. Most of those times the person resorting to murder will use one of the above reasons as justification for their crimes. They might even be true reasons! The difference is that the Neutral killer might mean it when he says "I had to kill, it was self defense," but the Evil murderer says the same thing and yet really means, "I GOT to kill. Oh, and it was self defense."

Good is not inherently nice! Paladin armies are infamous for razing Orcish camps in order to protect the innocent. Risking one’s own life to kill evil creatures to protect the innocent is a good act. There is more to Good than mercy. While some Good may strive to minimize deaths of even the enemy, not all Good have this restriction. Note that very few Good outsiders have merciful weapons or have try to fight nonleathal listed in their tactics. Sarenrea and a few other Good gods have mercy as a core part of their being. (Even Ragatheil can forgive if genuinely asked.) However, it’s notable that Torag sees this mercy as a weakness.

Paladins killing orcs isn't incompatible with Stone Dog's views. He said killing is not good. That's not the same as saying it's evil.

And the good hero does not risk his life to kill evil creatures. He risks his life to stop them. Killing is the means to the end. Not the end itself.

There are degrees of good, just as there are degrees of evil, law and chaos. Individuals, even paladins and outsiders, differ in how good they are. To my mind your example of the Glorious Revolution (in response to Angel Hunter D's comment) illustrates this nicely.


Davor wrote:
If you're going to try and apply moral relativity to a setting, you can justify/do whatever you want. You don't need to ask whether something is okay. Just justify it however and move on.

That isn’t moral relativity. It’s moral objectivity. Actions are good or evil based on a combination of intentions and consequences. Starting a fire is good. You are trying to warm up freezing refugees and give them a meal. Starting a fire is evil. You are burning down their homes. Moral issues are rarely x=1.1*y-z.


Zarius hit the nail on the head with the statement killing does not equate to evil. Murder does.

One very important thing to keep in mind is that the people who wrote the rules are normal human beings. They are game designers not higher being, or even experts on morality. Sure they are the ones designing the game so deserve a little leeway, but expecting them to be the end all authority on morality is unreasonable. If you actually bother to read the entire section on alignment you will realize they are intentionally vague.

I would point out the fourth paragraph of the rules on alignment.

Animals and other creatures incapable of moral action are neutral. Even deadly vipers and tigers that eat people are neutral because they lack the capacity for morally right or wrong behavior. Dogs may be obedient and cats free-spirited, but they do not have the moral capacity to be truly lawful or chaotic.

Since animals are not capable of doing evil, killing cannot be inherently evil. An act only becomes evil when it is looked at in context to the situation. Without context you it is almost impossible to determine if a act is of any particular alignment.


I came up to this thread and...wow...guys...it is simply AMAZING!! :)
Thanks! :)
Skarm

Silver Crusade

Skarm wrote:

Hi all,

I was wondering if it is an universal Pathfinder interpretation that "XXXXXX = evil"

Almost regardless of what XXXXXX is in the above sentence there is NOT a universal Pathfinder interpretation that it is evil.

In past threads just about anything and everything, no matter how egregious, has been thought to be not evil by some people. And just about anything remotely "naughty" has been thought to be evil by some people.

If you assume that everything that Paizo publishes is "official" then even Paizo's official position on alignment makes that just about any "naughty" act may make you evil and just about no EEEVVVVIIIILLL act necessarily makes you evil.


pauljathome wrote:
Skarm wrote:

Hi all,

I was wondering if it is an universal Pathfinder interpretation that "XXXXXX = evil"

Almost regardless of what XXXXXX is in the above sentence there is NOT a universal Pathfinder interpretation that it is evil.

In past threads just about anything and everything, no matter how egregious, has been thought to be not evil by some people. And just about anything remotely "naughty" has been thought to be evil by some people.

If you assume that everything that Paizo publishes is "official" then even Paizo's official position on alignment makes that just about any "naughty" act may make you evil and just about no EEEVVVVIIIILLL act necessarily makes you evil.

My good sir, I direct your attention to the existence of evil Outsiders, who are inherently and irredeemably evil.


Zarius wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
Skarm wrote:

Hi all,

I was wondering if it is an universal Pathfinder interpretation that "XXXXXX = evil"

Almost regardless of what XXXXXX is in the above sentence there is NOT a universal Pathfinder interpretation that it is evil.

In past threads just about anything and everything, no matter how egregious, has been thought to be not evil by some people. And just about anything remotely "naughty" has been thought to be evil by some people.

If you assume that everything that Paizo publishes is "official" then even Paizo's official position on alignment makes that just about any "naughty" act may make you evil and just about no EEEVVVVIIIILLL act necessarily makes you evil.

My good sir, I direct your attention to the existence of evil Outsiders, who are inherently and irredeemably evil.

I tried taht line onces and had the fiend that became CG slammed in my face

Scarab Sages

RDM42 wrote:
Davor wrote:
If you're going to try and apply moral relativity to a setting, you can justify/do whatever you want. You don't need to ask whether something is okay. Just justify it however and move on.
That isn’t moral relativity. It’s moral objectivity. Actions are good or evil based on a combination of intentions and consequences. Starting a fire is good. You are trying to warm up freezing refugees and give them a meal. Starting a fire is evil. You are burning down their homes. Moral issues are rarely x=1.1*y-z.

In either case, starting the fire is neither good nor evil. It's the acts of warming refugees or burning down homes that are aligned. The moment you've declared, as the OP did, that: "To be honest I strongly disagree with this interpretation, because in my opinion a fantasy setting is still "pseudo-medieval"...and this equation "killing = evil" is totally a 20th-21st Century idea that it is not even prevalent among the existing modern population:...", you've made the claim that morality is relativistic, at which point you can claim whatever you like as being right so long as the action can be justified. (Since humans are very good at justifying their behavior, this should not be difficult).


Zarius wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
Skarm wrote:

Hi all,

I was wondering if it is an universal Pathfinder interpretation that "XXXXXX = evil"

Almost regardless of what XXXXXX is in the above sentence there is NOT a universal Pathfinder interpretation that it is evil.

In past threads just about anything and everything, no matter how egregious, has been thought to be not evil by some people. And just about anything remotely "naughty" has been thought to be evil by some people.

If you assume that everything that Paizo publishes is "official" then even Paizo's official position on alignment makes that just about any "naughty" act may make you evil and just about no EEEVVVVIIIILLL act necessarily makes you evil.

My good sir, I direct your attention to the existence of evil Outsiders, who are inherently and irredeemably evil.

Well unless Paizo wants a player to get a succubus waifu, then the buggers are perfectly redeemable!

I jest (slightly) but the general premise that no outsiders fall (and inversely get redeemed) is frankly not true. You can find globs of fallen outsiders and a handful of risen ones (always those succubi...). Generally speaking, its harder to mess with their alignment due to being made of the stuff, but not impossible.


Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Zarius wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
Skarm wrote:

Hi all,

I was wondering if it is an universal Pathfinder interpretation that "XXXXXX = evil"

Almost regardless of what XXXXXX is in the above sentence there is NOT a universal Pathfinder interpretation that it is evil.

In past threads just about anything and everything, no matter how egregious, has been thought to be not evil by some people. And just about anything remotely "naughty" has been thought to be evil by some people.

If you assume that everything that Paizo publishes is "official" then even Paizo's official position on alignment makes that just about any "naughty" act may make you evil and just about no EEEVVVVIIIILLL act necessarily makes you evil.

My good sir, I direct your attention to the existence of evil Outsiders, who are inherently and irredeemably evil.

Well unless Paizo wants a player to get a succubus waifu, then the buggers are perfectly redeemable!

I jest (slightly) but the general premise that no outsiders fall (and inversely get redeemed) is frankly not true. You can find globs of fallen outsiders and a handful of risen ones (always those succubi...). Generally speaking, its harder to mess with their alignment due to being made of the stuff, but not impossible.

I can't help but notice that it's female characters that seem to get this treatment a lot. Not only is there a succubus that can be redeemed (a goddess was involved, decided to tweak her soul to be able to change to good), I distinctly recall a female Winter Wolf that can be romanced to the side of good. (She does have a human form in a certain location which the PC meet her in and it is encouraged to give her a magic item to give her one outside of these if she becomes a companion.)

With all this talk of aligned outsiders shifting, I'm curious about an inevitable that falls to chaos or a protean that becomes lawful.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Removed a post. It is not okay to use "retarded" as a pejorative. R-Word website if you need more context for why this is not allowed on our site. If you need your text back to rephrase and repost, email community@paizo.com.


Morality thread! *drinks*

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.

This is a subject where its very easy to get theoretical and philosophical, however, please remember this is in the Rules forum and is specifically asking about if "There is any official ruling about what is evil or not in Pathfinder?"


munch..munch...


Steelfiredragon wrote:
Zarius wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
Skarm wrote:

Hi all,

I was wondering if it is an universal Pathfinder interpretation that "XXXXXX = evil"

Almost regardless of what XXXXXX is in the above sentence there is NOT a universal Pathfinder interpretation that it is evil.

In past threads just about anything and everything, no matter how egregious, has been thought to be not evil by some people. And just about anything remotely "naughty" has been thought to be evil by some people.

If you assume that everything that Paizo publishes is "official" then even Paizo's official position on alignment makes that just about any "naughty" act may make you evil and just about no EEEVVVVIIIILLL act necessarily makes you evil.

My good sir, I direct your attention to the existence of evil Outsiders, who are inherently and irredeemably evil.

I tried taht line onces and had the fiend that became CG slammed in my face

Does not work. True Outsiders (meaning non-native ones), aren't natives to the Prime Material, and don't have the ability to change their inherent nature. Dragons can, because as long-lived as they are, they are still mortals. Outsiders are not mortal. They exist as what they are.


Quote:
I was wondering if it is an universal Pathfinder interpretation that "killing = evil" or if it is merely an interpretation that has a significant following within my own party...

No, there is no glossary item stating what "evil" is, full stop. That'd be an unusual level of moral hubris on the part of Paizo.

There are definitions of what constitutes "evil" in certain contexts. Spells with the [evil] descriptor is "evil" in the sense that they "draw upon evil powers or conjure creatures from evil-aligned planes or with the evil subtype." In that sense, "evil" is a cosmic phenomenon like gravity, thermodynamics, or buttered toast always landing butter-side-down.

Horror Adventures goes on the tangent that repeatedly casting "evil" spells will eventually make one evil, but that's written for a particular kind of game in which such a corruptive effect makes narrative sense--it may or may not apply to a given game, especially a non-horror game.

Regarding evil actions rather than magical forces: The best you're going to find is what constitutes "evil" from a particular perspective, such as the paladin code, a deity's strictures, or the average non-sociopathic commoner. A person might find that all killing is evil, or they might view it as non-evil or even good in some circumstances.

Alignment-shifting is a matter that varies considerably from table to table. Your GM is the ultimate arbiter of what constitutes cause for an alignment shift, no matter how ill-advised their decision may be. Both you and your GM are responsible for understanding the tone of the game in question and what is and is not allowed, including on what grounds your GM decides to essentially kickban your PC. In that respect, the answer to "what is evil?" becomes "whatever your GM says is evil, unless you decide to find/run another one".

This is one of the reasons that the idea of forced NPC-itude is ill-advised* in all but the most extreme cases (such as "I blood-sacrifice a civilization in the name of Urgathoa and become a lich"). It should be blatantly obvious to everyone involved whether an action would cause you to lose your agency.

That being said, these situations usually mean either (a) the GM is being a heavy-handed moralizer or (b) the player in question is being an annoying git in the name of "but it's what my character would do!". Talk to each other like rational adults and decide how to proceed.

*mind-affecting effects aside


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Zarius wrote:
Steelfiredragon wrote:
Zarius wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
Skarm wrote:

Hi all,

I was wondering if it is an universal Pathfinder interpretation that "XXXXXX = evil"

Almost regardless of what XXXXXX is in the above sentence there is NOT a universal Pathfinder interpretation that it is evil.

In past threads just about anything and everything, no matter how egregious, has been thought to be not evil by some people. And just about anything remotely "naughty" has been thought to be evil by some people.

If you assume that everything that Paizo publishes is "official" then even Paizo's official position on alignment makes that just about any "naughty" act may make you evil and just about no EEEVVVVIIIILLL act necessarily makes you evil.

My good sir, I direct your attention to the existence of evil Outsiders, who are inherently and irredeemably evil.

I tried taht line onces and had the fiend that became CG slammed in my face

Does not work. True Outsiders (meaning non-native ones), aren't natives to the Prime Material, and don't have the ability to change their inherent nature. Dragons can, because as long-lived as they are, they are still mortals. Outsiders are not mortal. They exist as what they are.

Nope. It's happened. Sometimes with outside influence, but then no moral development occurs in a vacuum.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Again, they can change. A few list of various outsiders that alignment shifted into something else (mostly G/N to E because that's the easiest), all taken in broad terms.

Sahkils: (TN Psychopomps to NE jerks)

Devils: Erinyes for instance are mostly made from the souls of fallen celestials, further Mahtallah was once a psychopomp usher. That and going off I believe one of the back articles in Hell's Vengeance, the initial batch of devils, including Asmodeus, were all some stripe of celestials (likely archons)

Divs: Originated and can be formed from evil genies/jinn.

Honorable mention to the following:

Oni: (Can form from LN Kami who forsake their guardian of nature schtick, honorable mention due to being native outsiders)

Qlippoth: Qlippoth lords can be transition into full on demon lords. Honorable mention due to still being CE even if their type changes.


roguerouge wrote:
Whether eating it is wrong depends entirely on its intelligence score and whether it is cute.

What if you just eat it's still beating heart? To heal yourself or cure a disease? Does it matter if the disease is drug addiction? They where just going to kill it anyways...


Alright, Tarik, well played.

1 to 50 of 63 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / Rules Questions / Killing and Pathfinder Morality... All Messageboards